My children are no longer at the age where I can tell them their behavior during the year has everything to do with the gifts (or coal) they receive on Christmas. With the holiday so close, children naturally get more excited about the gifts and cookies and, in turn, lose focus on what we feel is the most important. And for all of us, what's most important is different. Today, what's most important to my wife and I is to genuinely celebrate Jesus Christ. For some of you reading this, it's something different....and that's ok. I get it. It hasn't always been this way for us either. Right now, we're in the thick of it all - Christmas shopping, work parties, and bearing down at our jobs so we can actually enjoy our time off. It's an ongoing tension coming to a head on Christmas Eve. Sometimes, I'm not really good at handling this tension. I tend to overreact. Other 'less important things' can tend to take place of what's the most important. The peace that should come in the season doesn't necessarily show on my face.
I wonder how I would've done over 2000 years ago as Joseph. How would I have reacted if my girlfriend (Mary) had become pregnant (not by me) and having the whole town question the both of us. Then, in our search for a place to give birth to the Messiah, there's no room at the Inn. We have to go into this smelly barn with the animals. I imagine my complaints would be heard. I imagine I would say plenty of things I would regret. I imagine my wife (pregnant and certainly uncomfortable in every way) would look at me in disbelief as if to say, "You're kidding right? I'M PREGNANT not you.!" The circumstances were not ideal. But are they ever?
The great thing about following Christ (or, at least should be) is that perfect peace is not dependent on our circumstances, it is dependent on trusting God.
"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
The more we pursue Christ, the more peace we have. Ask those around you that do this. I'm not the same person I was many holidays ago and I'm so thankful. He has given me more peace in my life than ever before. In the times where I've lost loved ones, had financial burdens, or was unsure of my career, I had peace. I have Christ.
What if this was the first holiday you truly leaned into Christ? Sometimes the chaos in our lives stem from our push for independence. We convince ourselves that "we got this!" when all along He's ready to intervene and give you some much needed peace. Instead of going to Him as a last resort, how about going to Him first? Trust in Him and see. Your holiday will be different.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
My prayer is that you will not go blindly into this holiday. I'm praying that this is the year where relationships are appreciated more than ever before and God is put in His right place. #thereasonfortheseason